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Champion willstrop aims for hattrick

other Updated: Dec 02, 2009 23:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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James Willstrop is one Englishman who wouldn't mind settling down in India. The 25-year-old squash player is on his third visit to India and on the two previous occasions went back with a world title in his kitty - world junior in 2004 and world team in 2007.

Willstrop landed in Mumbai on Tuesday to participate in the year-ending $152,000 PSA Masters that begins here on Saturday and is keen to make it a hattrick of titles on Indian soil.

"I definitely think it is possible," said the youngster, who is ranked seventh in the tournament and opens his campaign against compatriot Jonathan Kemp.

The PSA Masters is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the international calendar with only the top 32 players invited to compete for the crown.

"For me personally this is a very important tournament since a good performance here will take me closer to my ultimate aim of reaching the world number 1 position," added Willstrop, who is coached by his father Malcolm.

Willstrop is one of the nine Englishmen playing in the tournament and given the pull out of English shuttlers from the World Badminton Championship in August due to security concerns, a query about whether there were any concerns on his part was an obvious one.

But the strapping youngster insisted that not playing the tournament was never an option. "I thought about that (security). But I don't think I ever thought of not coming… You can't just get wrapped in cotton wool."

Willstrop would also be coming back for the Commonwealth Games next year and the silver medallist in the last edition of the Games says bagging the gold this time would be a realistic goal.

But for now the man from Yorkshire, who also plays in a band along with a teammate, wants to rock the courts at the glass courts at the Bombay Gymkhana.